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In British Columbia, Canada, doctor-assisted suicide is now a legal right. That is, if you're not demented or suffering the ravages of alzheimers disease. My 82 year-old father's life is a living nightmare; it must be akin to a bad acid trip except that it's permanent. My once proud father, always meticulously dressed, who loved soccer and Italian opera, has been reduced to an incontinent babbling shell of a human being. Every minute of every day is relentless mental anguish; it's crying and head clutching and behaving in ways that are so fundamentally contrary to his character that I hardly know how to process it.

There are no drugs for this; there is no remedy; there is no hope. It's a ghastly horror. And he never would have wanted to live his way. The doctors say, "We have to change the laws." Right now, a rational person cannot "consent" to doctor-assisted death for something that hasn't happened yet. Which is absurd... And obviously the demented person has no say. What the family wants means nothing, we aren't to be trusted.....except with 24-7 care giving which saves the system billions of dollars every year. We're trusted with that.
My feeling is this: If a demented person cannot consent to die, they also cannot consent to live. They can't consent to anything; it's over. Their "life" is a pointless, meaningless waste, by any measure: time, resources, money..not to mention the wasted lives of family members. Care givers have got to speak up - write to your members of parliament or congress; say it to every doctor you encounter. The more it is talked about, the faster these laws will be changed.

Because this is inhumane. It's cruel. It's a ghastly existence that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Every die I pray that he'll die....why can't we show any mercy? Am I the only one who feels utterly bewildered by this?

Vancouver5 - You are not alone. I am with you 100%. I don't ever wish to exist like that, nor make my children take care of me in that condition. I wish to die with dignity.
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Reply to polarbear
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I am trying to get things set up so that if I am every diagnosed with dementia, things will be easy for me to take action so I don't need to live this way. I would love it if I could sign a paper telling my kids that if I reach such and such a stage of dementia that I would have the same right to die as someone who has cancer (we live in a right to die state).

Alzheimer's is a fatal disease, it just is a very long process.
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Reply to chdottir
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Well, I'll be darned if I'll wind up like my mother-95 years old, stage 6 Alzheimer's, doesn't remember ANYTHING and believes she has horrible headaches (which 5 doctors refute).

She says she wishes she could die on many visits.

I will try to get neurologically checked out if I see any slipping in my mental process. (Some say they didn't notice anything but I believe they're in denial.

I'll be living in Mexico when I retire. For a few pesos you can get a prescription for anything.
Taking enough sleeping pills would do the trick.
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Reply to SueC1957
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I am with you as well. Both of my parents have dementia and I know they would not like to live on for years and years as a shell of who they were.. nor would I if I was in their position (and I very well might be some day).

The only legal thing you can do is go the hospice route during end stage.. although that isn't a guarantee that they still won't live on and on for years. For sure I wouldn't want a bunch of live saving measures that would cause me to live on.

In the movie Still Alice.. she tried to get a plan together and hoard some pills.. but when the time came.. she wasn't with it enough to follow through. Its easy to plan this when you are far away from having to follow through.. but I imagine it will be very difficult once you are there and in the moment..

My parents are in memory care and there are several people there that are really just living corpses.. they just exist. If they have a strong heart they could live on and on for years. My parents are still with it enough to still have some quality of life.. I would hate to see them eventually turn into these type of people that have absolutely no quality of life.

I wish there was a good solution to this.. when your brain is gone.. you should be gone.
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Reply to katiekay
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I'm living a similar situation with my 86 year old mother. She's a shell of the person I knew and loved as my mother. She can barely walk, is miserable, and suffers from some sort of dementia that we can't get doctors to diagnosis. The sad part is that nothing I do can make her better, or happy again. I can't bring my daddy back or my older brother, and she misses them both terribly. I can't make her physically able to live in the home she and my dad built in the 1950's; the home where her soul still resides, the home of her memories and lost life. I often think she would be much happier to close her eyes in sleep one night and just not wake up, at least in the this life. Yet, I am not God and at least for me, I have reconciled that the moment of her physical death is not my decision to make.
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Reply to rwbpiano
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Chdottir, Check out dementia-directive.org. This has info and form that you may find useful.
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Reply to ML4444
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Vicious circle of bureaucracy.

I would not want to live a miserable horrid existence, however, if I'm ignorantly blissful, feed me and house me.

I'm sorry you have to go on this difficult journey.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I've got to say that a lot of conditions cause people to say "I'd rather be dead" - than be blind, than in a wheelchair, than go through chemo .... My own brother said it when he was faced with terminal cancer, but the thing is that was as much fear of pain and the unknown as a rational choice. IMO there is a huge difference between someone who faces a terminal diagnosis or guaranteed intractable pain and misery choosing when to die and someone on the outside making decisions on at what point another person's life has no value.
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Reply to cwillie
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Well I am with you for myself. Trouble is, if I was at 'that' stage, would I know? How would I be able to say yes?

I, for sure, do not want to burden my family. With the care of me and the feelings they will get because of the state of me. I have told ALL of them that if I am like this, that or the other then I would not want to carry on.

What a dilema
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Reply to BuzzyBee
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As a teenager I wondered why we talk about ending the lives of animals in pain as being "humane" yet won't give cancer patients enough medication to dull their pain because it might suppress their breathing resulting in a earlier death. It's humane to end the pain of an animal but not a human being?

I'm not comfortable with others deciding to end another's life - just too many conflicting interests and potential for misuse.

I would be agreeable to a quality of life document where someone while still competent could list a series of conditions (terminal illness, dementia diagnosis, deemed incompetent, doesn't recognize spouse and/or children, cannot speak, cannot eat, bedridden, etc) that when some combination were met a physician could assist an early death. I would want a physician to sign the original document declaring the person was competent at the time the document was signed. And a different physician to later execute the document.
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Reply to TNtechie
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